First Division - Day 30

Real Madrid 1 - Barcelona 1

Real Madrid: Casillas; Michel Salgado, Hierro, Iván Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Makelele, Flavio Conceiçao (Guti 72'); Figo, Raúl, Zidane; Ronaldo. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Bonano; Gabri, Puyol, Frank De Boer, Sorín; Mendieta (Gerard 82'), Xavi, Motta, Overmars; Luis Enrique (Riquelme 80'), Kluivert. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Madrid: No change / Barcelona: Sorín, Xavi, Luis Enrique for Reiziger, Gerard, Saviola.

1-0. 16. Ronaldo. Ran on to beat Bonano after Raúl headed on Makelele long ball.
1-1. 32. Luis Enrique. Following up after Casillas got hand to Kluivert header.

Leaders Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by arch-rivals Barcelona in Spain's big "derby" game on Saturday evening, giving Deportivo and Real Sociedad a chance to move to within a point of them if they can win on Sunday. With a 24 point gap between the two sides the Catalans were not given much of a chance, and despite Kluivert bringing a good save out of Casillas early on, they found themselves behind on the quarter hour mark when Raúl headed on a long ball from Makelele into the path of Ronaldo for him to beat Bonano. But urged on by Luis Enrique, starting his first match in 23 after a long lay-off for injury, the visitors came back. and it was the team captain himself who levelled the scores, shooting into an empty net after Casillas could only palm away Kluivert's strong header from an Overmars cross.

Nerves were on a knife edge, and a hand-off by Zidane on Puyol ended with players jostling each other near half time, Luis Enrique and Makelele in particular lucky not be on their way to an early bath. The Madrid players claimed that Puyol had over-reacted, but it was the Barcelona players' turn to make that claim when Roberto Carlos was booked after falling in the area after a challenge from Gabri. Either side could have scored again before the break, Mendieta having a goal disallowed for a borderline offside after Kluivert put him through, and Ronaldo heading a cross from Salgado just over the bar.

Luis Enrique thought he should have had a penalty in the second half when Hierro brought him down, but Madrid came closest to scoring, Bonano making a first class save when Figo ghosted through the defence, and Ronaldo heading against the bar after Helguera had flicked on a corner, the ball hitting Xavi on the line before bouncing away. Salgado got himself sent off two minutes from the end for a second bookable offence, substitute Riquelme just failed to connect with a cross from the left, and right at the end Bonano tipped another shot from Zidane over the bar.

A draw in the end though, which left Barça the more satisfied of the two despite ending the weekend in twelfth place. The question now is whether they both have anything left for their respective Champions League matches midweek. If they do get through though, the two will face off again in a repeat of last season's semi-final. An appetizing thought, although the security forces in Cataluña must be hoping that one or the other is knocked out, or at least that Figo picks up a mystery illness before then. If not, it could be hell again in the Nou Camp.